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Domenica Antonini

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  • The Refugees

  • By: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Narrated by: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 672
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 607
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 612

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good collection of short stories

  • By Thomas More on 03-19-17

Another brilliant work of literary art from one of my favorite authors of all time

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Thank you, Viet Thanh Nguyen, for these eloquent stories.
The Sympathizer is one of my favorite novels. While re-reading it a few weeks ago, I was absolutely blown away by your mastery with words. There is no doubt that this is a book I will return to again again throughout my life as there is so much magic, not only in the character portrayals, but also the transcendent depiction of both beauty and pain. As I am intrigued by Vietnam’s history, culture and people, I greatly appreciate the ways in which you strive (and succeed in) to share accurate glimpses of it from a wide variety of perspectives.
The stories in The Refugees are like little carefully crafted jewels. I cannot say that they touched me as profoundly as The Sympathizer, but there is no doubt they are excellent, and I would recommend them to anyone, with or without an interest in Vietnam, simply for their intimate glimpses into human nature.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 23,620
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21,452
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 21,344

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

Riveting portrait of an extraordinary woman

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-30-18

I was so sad when this book ended because it captured my attention from the moment I began listening to it. Over several days, I have listened to it intently every single time I get ready in the morning, drive my kids to school and myself to work, and clean the kitchen. I cannot describe the admiration I have for Tara. Her self-discipline, amazing diligence, determination and exceptional self analysis blow my mind.

  • Beautiful Animals

  • A Novel
  • By: Lawrence Osborne
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 97

On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean Sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies. But when their seemingly simple plan to help Faoud unravels, all must face the horrific consequences they have set in motion.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • please offer more of this author's books

  • By S. Liskey on 07-20-17

A road leading nowhere in particular

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-18-18

Despite numerous negative reviews, I went ahead and purchased this book because of my interest in both Greece and Syria. However, I was quick to discover that they were absolutely right – the plot of this book is meandering and ultimately pointless. After about half of it, I felt like I had wasted my time, yet forced myself to listen to the end, all the while feeling sure that it wasn’t going to get any better, based on the careless way the author had developed the first part of the book.
First of all, there is a terrible lack of character development, especially of Faoud, and as such, the entire story struck me as completely preposterous. Having lived in Syria for four years, I can tell you that none of my Syrian friends found this particular story plausible in any way shape or form. It seems that the author simply drew on some current news and stereotypes about Syrian refugees to paint this picture of a mysterious character. This left me feeling extremely frustrated and dissatisfied. I regret wasting my time on this book. It’s a shame – so much more could have been done with this magical backdrop.
In the end, it’s not even really a book – just some thoughts and impressions of this amazing landscape and three physically attractive characters, all thrown together carelessly without any coherent story line.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Behold the Dreamers (Oprah's Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Imbolo Mbue
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,925
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,692
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,678

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself; his wife, Neni; and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty - and Jende is eager to please. Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just okay...

  • By LuckyLindsi83 on 09-09-16

A heartwarming tale, beautifully told

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-02-17

I really, really enjoyed listening to this book. The narration is beyond outstanding. I looked forward to simply listening to the narrator's voice, and plan on searching for other titles he has read. The story itself, though at times a bit superficial, is lovely overall, and I found myself really liking the protagonists, a Cameroonian couple who each longs for the American dream in their own way. Hopefully, this will lead into a sequel. I would love to find out what happens to Nene and Jende once they are settled in Cameroon again, not to mention the lives of their children.

  • Little Fires Everywhere

  • By: Celeste Ng
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,664
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,308
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,256

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Boring and Drawn Out!!!

  • By M. Ryder on 10-05-17

More like a young adult book

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-26-17

I purchased this book hoping for an intriguing family story, something akin to The Corrections. However, I was really disappointed. The characters in this book come across as one dimensional and the story, black-and-white. From the beginning, the author's intent seems rather obvious, and I became quickly bored.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Daring to Drive

  • A Saudi Woman's Awakening
  • By: Manal al-Sharif
  • Narrated by: Lameece Issaq
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 231

A ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women's right to drive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Favorite book for 2017

  • By mary sheeleigh on 07-15-17

One of the most inspirational books I have ever read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-17

I cannot describe how much I admire Manal AlSharif. Her courage, honesty and sacrifices are helping to create progress in a backwards country whose cruel laws and customs serve to denigrate women, as well as exclude them from numerous important sectors of society. Thank you, Manal, For your bravery. You have inspired me and my daughters, not to mention the girls and women of Saudi Arabia.

  • Hunger

  • A Memoir of (My) Body
  • By: Roxane Gay
  • Narrated by: Roxane Gay
  • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,209
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,941
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,924

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as "wildly undisciplined", Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brutal and raw and honest

  • By S. Yates on 07-17-17

Brave yet whiny

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-17

Like numerous other reviewers, I agree that it took a lot of courage to discuss such a painful event in Ms. Gay's childhood. However, I found the book to be repetitive and whiny. In addition, I am tired of hearing her say, "I I am full of contradictions." This is a total cop out, a way to avoid facing the truth. It was frustrating to continually hear her longing for cute clothes, yet indignant to others who judge her on her appearance. Clearly, she judges herself on the basis of her appearance, so why shouldn't they? She experiences discomfort and even pain on a daily basis due to her weight, yet does not have the willpower to do anything about it. Therefore, why does she keep going on and on about it? It strikes me that she is spoiled, having grown up in such a wealthy family with parents who have always been there to catch her when she falls, even now as an adult. While it is wonderful to have such a strong support network, in this case, it seems to have led to entitlement rather than the ability to face the truth of the situation and actually do something about it.
Finally, I would like to say that I found the book overly abstract. Although there were a few specific examples about chairs, Airplanes and Blue Apron meals, her general ideas about being treated negatively as a fat person were vague, with few specific examples. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was that my desire to understand what it feels like to be a fat person in American society, yet she never really gets to the heart of this point. She seems unwilling to share any details that bother her, With an attitude of "I don't feel like sharing that part of the story, so I won't." However, this is a memoir, so readers deserve a more richly drawn, complete story. If she is unwilling to share those details, why did she write this Book in the first place?

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Drinking

  • A Love Story
  • By: Caroline Knapp
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 800
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 703
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 702

Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as "liquid armor", a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Big Picture of Alcohol Dependence

  • By Karen K on 07-26-16

One of the greatest memoirs I have ever read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-17

I have read many accounts, and this by far surpasses them all in its depths of detail and raw, honest emotion. Caroline Knapp was a truly gifted writer whose gift to the world was this stunning, penetrating, insightful account of her struggle with alcohol. In the end, what stuck to me the most was her description of her fear of intimacy, and her difficulty coping with emotions that led her to seek solace outside of herself. And absolutely brilliant book – I will probably read it again in a few years to simply enjoy the language and mood she creates through her words.

  • Americanah

  • By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,529
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,769
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,748

As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty

  • By Anna-Bo-Banana on 04-28-14

Self-Righteous and Arrogant

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-15

What would have made Americanah better?

Though some of Adichie's insights were accurate and intriguing, the majority of this book is unbearable due to the narrator's arrogance and constant annoyance with others, especially American whites. She never misses an opportunity to insult and mock those she meets. Though Ifemelu ends up getting everything almost anyone, let alone a third world immigrant, could dream of-- successful work writing, adoring men who stop at nothing to please her, an ex who is willing to leave his wife for her-- she never appears happy. It appears that is because of her feeling that she is surrounded by uncultured, unsophisticated and at times, just downright stupid Americans, whom she constantly belittles.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I agree with other reviewers who have said that the reader's voice is fine when speaking in her actual voice-- she actually has a lovely voice. However, when she took on the parts of others-- her nephew, boyfriends, roommates,employers, etc-- she made them sound like extremely annoying, inconsiderate, adolescent boys. At a certain point,after cringing one too many times over the obnoxious sound of her voice, I could no longer listen to her. It is really hard to understand why those who are in charge of listening to an audio book prior to its release to ensure it is read properly did not notice this.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Americanah?

This book needed a perceptive editor who could have deleted the many meandering, cliched, boring and self-indulgent passages. If it had been condensed to focus on only the few profound insights the book offers, it could have been much better.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful